Remodelers can recoup some money by investing in “green” cars and trucks for their businesses. One example on the road today is General Motors’ Silverado hybrid, which uses battery and electric drive motors to supplement the internal combustion engine, making it more efficient.

“The next phase,” says Daniel O’Connell, director of fuel-cell commercialization at GM, “is to change out the internal combustion engine with a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen and not petroleum.” Not much more costly than the production version, the Silverado has a “40% improvement on fuel economy and can tow up to 6,100 pounds,” O’Connell says.

Fuel cells, whose only by-product is water, might one day be used to power an entire jobsite or a home or neighborhood. Although the hydrogen fuel itself takes a little more energy to make, the cell is more efficient and is less polluting than a gas-powered engine. And it is far quieter. “From a work-truck perspective,” O’Connell says, “you can see the ability to generate clean, efficient electricity at a work site and to get away from generators. You’ll get double-duty from your truck.”

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